/Jeep History & Photo Gallery

Jeep History & Photo Gallery

Jeep 545x341 at Jeep History & Photo Gallery

What’s in a name? When many people think of a Jeep, words like “Grand Cherokee” and “Wrangler” may immediately come to mind. But while the word “Jeep” conjures up numerous images of adventures on the open road, the history begins with the origin of the name.

While the exact source of the name remains unverified, one of the more popular theories regarding how Willys Quad came to be dubbed the Jeep vehicle comes from somewhat sloppy speech. It is claimed that the name came from the military designation, G.P., an acronym for the General Purpose vehicle, which when phonetically slurred sounds like “jeep.”

Today, Jeep is an American automobile brand of the transnational producer, Chrysler Group LLC, which is in a large-scale association with Fiat. The Jeep brand was acquired by Chrysler in 1987, but the history of this brand dates back as far as 1940.

The first Jeep was built by hand for the main purpose of versatility and took approximately seven weeks to build. This came as a response to the U.S. Army’s call for a lightweight, durable all-terrain vehicle. At the height of World War I, the Army put out a request to all automobile manufactures, challenging them to make a prototype of this multipurpose vehicle to be ready within forty-nine days. There were only two companies out of the one hundred and thirty companies that received the request that accepted the forty-nine day challenge; these companies were The Bantam Car Company and Willys-Overland.

Jeep Logo at Jeep History & Photo Gallery

However, after working for some time toward the tight deadline, National Defense Advisory Committee head William S. Knudsen, who was the former president of General Motors, elicited the much-needed aid of an engineer who had extensive experience working with numerous automotive firms, Karl Probst. On July 22, 1940, Probst produced a prolific prototype for Bantam. In just two days he had completely laid out plans for the Bantam prototype, which turned out to be the forerunner of the modern Jeep vehicle. After adding its own adjustments to the Bantam design, Willys-Overland ultimately was awarded the contract from the Army. In February of 1943, Willys-Overland trademarked the original brand name. During World War II, Jeeps built by Willys-Overland were titled the Model MB, while those built by Ford were the Model GPW.

Historically, celebrities and television characters have joined the Jeep club. Daisy Duke was not only an icon for her famous short-shorts, she drove a jeep! In the original “Dukes of Hazzard,” Daisy Duke drove a white CJ-7 Jeep. Later in the “Dukes of Hazzard” film, Daisy Duke drives a white Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.

The Jeep brand has even leaked to outdoor apparel and holds the title of being the oldest off-road vehicle and sport utility vehicle brand.

Jeep models include the following: Fleetvan Jeeps, Forward Control Jeeps, Commando Jeepsters, Civilian Jeeps, Dispatcher Jeeps and Full-size Jeeps. With the most current models being Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot.


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(CEO / Editor / Journalist) – Bruno is the owner and CEO of Motorward.com; he’s responsible for the entire team, editorial guidelines and publishing. Bruno has many years of experience in the auto industry, both managing automotive websites and contributing to the press.